Each and every summer since 1995, the Vans Warped Tour has trekked across North America and Canada, with a mission to bring nearly every genre of music to its respective fans. Started by music guru Kevin Lyman, the Vans Warped Tour successfully continues to pro- vide fans with an environment in which to listen to and interact with bands that they already love while discovering new artists that sounds similar to what they are familiar with. Attendance of the Warped Tour had been on the decline since 2005; part of this can be attributed to an increasingly obscure band listing, the rising ticket and refreshment prices, and the increasing summer temperatures. Despite these factors, this outdoor festival has remained a staple event in my summer vacation schedule and should remain in attendee’s minds as one of the most influential and beneficial music festivals.
For 15 consecutive summers, peo- ple of all ages have flocked to a ran- dom, sometimes sketchy outdoor venue, in the heat for about nine hours. Up to 100 bands are booked for any given summer and have in- cluded a variety of performers like tour veterans (NOFX, Bad Religion), up and coming artists (The Pretty Reckless), and mainstream art- ists (Fall Out Boy, Blink 182). Acts are presented on a variety of stages hosted by entities like Alternative Press Magazine and Glamour Kills Clothing.
Yes, water at the Warped Tour is expensive – I’ve paid $6 a bottle. Yes, temperatures rival water’s boiling point and your tan lines will look awkward. While standing in a pit for My Chemical Romance in 2005 I was hit in the head with a glass bot- tle and had beer thrown on me, but since when have trivial occurrences such as these held back music fans from dong what they love – listening to music?
No other tour has been able to match Warped in its ability to con- nect fans with each other and the music, while providing a genuine experience for attendees; other an- nual tours like Bonnaroo and Lol- lapoolaza focus on a specific genre of music in an impersonal environment.
Our generation wasn’t able to experience the wonder and unity of Woodstock, and I’m afraid that the same will hold true for generations after us. After having their opinions swayed, kids won’t want to go to Warped Tour, because it’s ‘hot, dirty, and not worth $40.” The future of the music community at large is in our hands, and we as fans are entitled to sustain it for the next generation of Kevin Lymans.